The Rake

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER

I kept Bob Odenkirk waiting for our interview. That isn’t to say I was late — more that he was early, disarmingly so. My father raised his sons to believe that being on time is late and five minutes early is on time, so I logged on accordingly. There was Bob, a fellow punctual traveller, ready to jump into questions about his career in film, television, writers’ rooms, and stand-up. As fathers, we couldn’t resist discussing our children and the joys of parenting. While we were always going to touch on his current project, Nobody, he seemed excited to mention a side hustle, the publication of a series of children’s poems, in the spirit of Revolting Rhymes, that he wrote when his children were young, with illustrations by his daughter. “Han, I think we’re going to have to go over,” he said, generously, to the publicist on the call.

We did nevertheless tack back to conventional interview waters, and I was eager to — not because of the time limit but because in terms of rounded showbiz accomplishments, few are able to hold a torch to Odenkirk. In the time it took me to research his career, I needed a lie down once I managed to wrap my head around the web he has spun between genres and skill sets. We are about to see the release of his first lead role in a feature film — Nobody — in which literally no punches are pulled, and I reckon it will prove to be the answer to a question that a lot of us didn’t know we were asking (more on this later).

Bob grew up in Illinois, in a Chicagoan suburb called Naperville — John Hughes’s America — and for which Odenkirk didn’t think he was a poster boy. “I felt like I didn’t belong there,” he says. “I never felt like

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